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Indiana 7-year-old receives special proton therapy for brain tumor

By Anne Marie Tiernon, WTHR anchor and Healthbeat reporter
Published: Jul 08, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - There was no sleeping in for Lynlie Robinson on her birthday.

Five days a week, they are up by 5:00 and out the door by 6:00 to make their way to the IU Proton Therapy Center in Bloomington more than an hour away. It's one of the few places in the country that can help make Lynlie well.

"We do these really hard cases here we generally do cases that other people in the country won't touch," said Dr. Jeffrey Buchsbaum, a radiation oncologist with IU Health.

Lynlie has a walnut size benign brain tumor called a craniopharyngioma hugging the gland that regulates vital hormones and threatens her vision. It's a tricky issue to treat and tends to grow annoying children because it keeps coming back, according to Dr. Buchsbaum. But proton beam therapy coupled with surgery has a 93 percent success rate of controlling it for eight to ten years.

Dr. Buchsbaum described it as "the ferrari of radiation therapy."

The key is making sure the beam hits and stops precisely at the targeted area treatment after treatment. All the while, Lynlie has to stay very, very still.

"Never had a complaint," said Genessa Robinson, Lynlie's mother. "Never complained about anything, even after surgery. Never questioned why."

In fact, amid all the special care, Lynlie had only one rather common request for her 7th birthday - to go to Chuck E. Cheese after her treatment.

"I think she is going to have a lot of birthdays to come," said Dr. Buchsbaum.

There are just 14 of these proton therapy centers in the country. Lynlie's family said given that, they consider their commute to treatment no big deal.




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